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Supremacy battle between Kenya, Ethiopia in running continues
NAIROBI, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- The long-standing supremacy battle between East Africa's athletics powerhouses, Kenya and Ethiopia played out in 2009 over mid, long distance and road running surfaces with mixed results for both nations.
Having produced the first two five-time winners of the senior 12km men long race at the IAAF World Cross in John Ngugi and Paul Tergat, the emergence of Keninisa Bekele halted Kenya's dominance at the event.
Bekele surpassed Ngugi and Tergat in winning his sixth title in Edinburgh 2008 and with the Ethiopian missing this year, hopes were high the title would be reclaimed for the first time since 1999.
However, the Amman 2009 team of Leonard Komon (silver medallist2008), Matthew Kisorio, Mark Kiptoo, Mangata Ndiwa, Linus Chumba and favored Moses Mosop (silver 2007) failed to rise to the occasion as Ethiopia's Gebregziabher Gebremariam succeeded Kenenisa.
Meanwhile, the women's senior race atoned for the men's failings when Florence Kiplagat ended Kenya's 15-year wait for th etitle to emulate Pauline Chepkonga (1994) when she beat Linet Masai to gold. Kiplagat is married to Mosop.
Kenya lost both junior races to Ethiopia for the first time in almost a decade as Ayele Abshero and Genzebe Dibaba made Titus Mbishei and Maercy Cherono the bridesmaid in the men 8km and women6km events.
The 12th World Championships in Athletics provided the big stage for Kenya and Ethiopia to renew their intense rivalry. Kenyadrew first blood after Linet Masai became the first runner since Sally Barsosio to deny Ethiopia the 10,000m women's world title.
Record holder, Kenenisa Bekele shadowed Eritrea's Zersenay Tadese in the 10,000m final before engaging the afterburners to restore parity with Kenyans Moses Masai (bronze), Micah Kogo and Bernard Kipyego reduced to mere spectators.
Ezekiel Kemboi began and ended a frenetic race in the men's 3,000m steeplechase to edge Kenya in front before Vivian Cheruiyotand Sylvia Kibet's 1-2 in the women's 5,000m ensured the mid and long distance shut out for their bitter rivals.
It has to be noted that Olympic champion and record holder over 5,000m and 10,000m, Tirunesh Dibaba, was missing due to injury for Ethiopia, a factor that fuelled Kenyans to believe in victory.
At the season ending World Athletics Final, a fit Dibaba resumed normal service when she beat compatriot Meseret Defar and Cheruiyot to the tape in the women's 5,000m finale. Bekele restored some pride for Ethiopia by beating Kenyan born Bernard Lagat (USA) and the trio of Vincent Chepkok, Eliud Kipchoge and Joseph Ebuya to the top medal in the men's 5,000m final.
However, with four gold, five silver and two bronze to Ethiopia's two gold, two silver and four bronze medals from Berlin Worlds, Kenya, just like Beijing Olympics in 2008 earned the region's bragging rights.
forget ethiopia and kenya; make some room for Eritrea.
This kind of health compition makes the best out of us.
Keep up the good work the lions of Kenya and Ethiopia. Destroy the myths that you win because you live in a heig land, oxygen bla bla. You win because you train better than others. You win because you take this sport is ours like football is for Brazil. Happy new year for more glorious victories.
Well guys Kenenisa never let me down. There only can be one lion in a mountain so it does not surprise me why the Kenyans are not happy over male’s long distance. Having said that we only had one or two strong runners in any event…we should involve other brave youngster in place so that we Ethiopians stay as a strong gold toward our challengers. I think the only time the world uprise Ethiopia is when we run and Long live our brave athletes!! That’s the only time I would wanna be called Ethiopian…that’s the only time where we all getup from our seat scream, yell, laugh, and call each other and say we Ethiopians can be winners and leaders and keep our heads up.
We will never surrender our title to no one. Running became our bread and butter. good job Ethio-Athletes
Good ambition on ur side, but Eri cannot be on the top of the list with 3.5 million population, especially most of the youngsters are in Sewa being decapitated by ISSAss,,,, all you are left with are some Arogit and shimagle in Asmera,,,.
Good luck with your wish and happy new year…
Its always fun watching the Kenya Ethiopia rivalry. 2009 i think Kenya had an upper hand overall. Hope Ethiopia can perform better this year.
I’m sorry philly how an ethiopian forget his mama ethiopia athletics is an ethiopian domain we’ll never abandon it.
long live the ethiopian athlets
To Hawi if u r only proud of being Ethiopian or wanna be called ethiopian when our athletes win den do you think U should ever be called Ethiopian??? Huh??? We are poor accept it yet we have richness and have a lot to get
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